Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Clean Your House Like a Professional

The pros use only what works.  What do they use? 
Home buyers love a clean home.

Yes, location.

Yes, price.

Yes, view.

Yes, square footage.

Yes, staged closets and uncluttered rooms!

But unless clean is in the mix, they won’t fall in love with your home on the market.

To discover what tricks I could learn about cleaning, I went to the pros. I went to the Cleaning Tips Forum on That Home Site. That's where I gathered up for you, my readers, the best professional tips to make cleaning your home easier. Because you already have enough (more fun) stuff to do to get your home staged to sell.

STAINLESS. To clean stainless steel surfaces. Use either Stainless Steel Magic or Zep foam. The professional cleaners and others appreciate that Zep clings to vertical surfaces and has a nice, citrus scent. Some people commented that Stainless Steel Magic helps repel fingerprints. That's welcome news.

SHOWER. To clean the area where glass shower doors overlap.  Use a small disposable, sponge paint brush. Almost any cleaning solution will work with the sponge. Rinse and store the brush where it can dry out between uses. Glass shower doors that ride in a track are easily removable if you have some muscle. Just lift up, and out. Even I can do it. Just make sure you have a handy place to set the door before you go yanking it.

TUB. To clean non-slip strips on the floor of a tub or shower. Use WD-40 and a stiff scrub brush. Also recommended is a product called TRR, which stands for toilet ring remover. You can find TRR in most drug stores or WalMart.
Choose spray, aerosol, or wipes.

MICROFIBER. To clean microfiber upholstered furniture pieces. Mix a 1/4 cup powdered oxygen cleaner in a bucket of very warm water. Wring out a cloth in this solution, and wipe the microfiber fabric with the cloth. As the cloth get dirty, use a new one. Allow the fabric to dry thoroughly, then take a soft brush, and brush the material to revive the nap.

GROUT. To clean grout. Borrow or buy a steamer, also called a pressure steamer. There are no chemical fumes, it’s quick, and you don't need to lug a variety of solvents from room to room.

FLOOR. To clean asbestos floor tiles. Cover with a layer of commercial 3M floor stripper, available at janitorial supply stores, and let it work according to directions. Or you can apply straight 409 cleaner with a long-handled scrub brush, and let it sit until the dirt is loosened. Make sure you have adequate ventilation. Use a wet /dry shop vac to pick it up. All the old grime and wax will come up.  Wax it with a wax made for vinyl flooring.

GLUE. To remove sticky residue after peeling away self-sticking shelf liner. Apply rubbing alcohol on a cotton cloth to dissolve the glue. WD-40 also works on glues.

BOWL RING. To get rid of a persistent ring around inside the toilet bowl. Use a pumice stone, but be sure to keep it wet and rub gently to avoid scratching the porcelain surface. A black emery board or drywall sanding paper work the same way. Bar Keeper’s Friend is a good stain remover because it contains oxalic acid. Disinfect the bowl first with bleach or Lysol, and use rubber gloves.

WINNER. Best Cleaning Procedure Tip: Start from the top when cleaning any room, and work down, whether dusting, vacuuming, or wiping.

WINNER. Best Cleaning Technique Tip: Always wipe surfaces first with a dry microfiber cloth. Then, clean them with the correct solution, sometimes water, sometimes degreasers, sometimes solutions that polish. Wetting a surface just turns whatever is there to mud. Loose dirt is easier to remove than mud.

WINNER. Favorite Products and Tools of Professional Cleaners: Microfiber cloths (to catch and trap dirt and other loose particles), steam cleaners (to sanitize hard surfaces), Bar Keepers Friend (to remove organic stains), baking soda (for mild abrasion and deodorizing), Dawn dishwashing liquid (to cut grease), Magic Eraser (to clean smooth surfaces of almost anything), Bona floor cleaner (for wood floors), and WD-40 (for all kinds of things, as evidenced here).

The Cleaning Tips Forum is part of the Garden Web, an easy-to-use website that's part of  iVillage. You can search for particular answers, share information, or ask questions. Be sure to check out the Buying and Selling Homes Forum at That Home Site also. You can connect with other homeowners who are selling their homes, get encouragement, and research just about any topic related to real estate.

At these forums, you'll see what other sellers are saying about clean homes. Clean homes feel good and they sell better. The best part is that cleaning is one of the least expensive DIY home improvement projects out there.

Do you want to make quick and easy work of giving your home that "open house sparkle" from top to bottom? In my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar, I outline a simple, efficient and effective method to get your home clean and keep it that way. You can download the book now with just a few clicks. You'll find that it's packed with advice about DIY staging, it starts paying for itself immediately. I guarantee it!

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